The US government is cutting aid to some Somali military units amid allegations of misuse of funds and corruption by the Somali military, a State Department official told CNN on Thursday.
Aid will continue to Somali military units that are mentored directly by US military advisers or are actively engaged in fighting the al Qaeda affiliate al Shabaab and other extremist groups, the State Department official said.
The decision comes as the US has become increasingly involved in the fight against al Shabaab and ISIS with airstrikes and some 500 US troops in the country advising local forces.
The US is also becoming increasingly dependent on the Somali military as thousands of troops from the multinational Africa Union mission in Somalia plan to withdraw by the end of 2020.
The story was first reported by Reuters.
The State Department official stressed that aid would resume pending revisions by the Somali government, which the official said was cognizant of the need to change how it handled the assistance.
“Both the United States and the federal government of Somalia fully agree that improvements in the delivery of US assistance to the Somali National Army are required, and both sides are committed to building greater transparency and accountability in the security sector,” the official said.
The news of the adjustment to US aid comes as US Africa Command, which oversees military operations in the region, announced that it is reopening its investigation into the alleged killing of civilians in August during a joint US-Somali military operation in Somalia.
The initial investigation by US Special Operations Command Africa concluded that the only casualties during the operation were al Shabaab fighters.
But Robyn Mack, a spokeswoman for Africa Command, told CNN that the commander of Africa Command, Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, had referred the matter to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service following media reports that alleged “misconduct by US personnel who participated in the operation.”
Mack added that the decision to refer the case to NCIS was made “to ensure a full exploration of the facts given the gravity of the allegations.”
US Special Operations Forces advisers, to include Navy SEALs, regularly accompany Somali units on operations against al Shabaab.